One of my favorite things to photograph each year: C.O.F.F.E.E. Ethiopian Heritage Camp. As it says on their website, C.O.F.F.E.E. is an acronym for Central Oregon Friends and Families of Ethiopian Ethnicity and is founded by a fabulous family from Bend (hi, Cindy and Brent!) who adopted twins from Ethiopia in 2008. This annual summer camp draws families from multiple states and is something my kids and I look forward to annually - it has grown in size and depth each progressive year.
It is a special community that feels, in many ways, like built-in family. We learn together as families and also separately, in groups of like-ages. We study the Amharic language, the politics of Ethiopia, the unique challenges presented by interracial adoptive relationships. Kids get to swim, do arts and crafts, team-building activities, play sports together. We dress up, we feast on Ethiopian food (hi, Eleni!), we dance, we connect. Ethiopian counselors educate and mentor Ethiopian kiddos and teenagers (and often, non-Ethiopian siblings - my non-adoptee son benefits from camp as much as does his adopted sister).
For those families who attended last year, I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. I hope you allow these colors and textures and frozen moments in time to transport you to last summer's warmth, community, music, and that fabulous smell of coffee and popcorn lingering in the air.
For those families who have never attended but are considering it, I hope these sneak peeks push you over the edge into taking a chance and registering. I hope we get to meet this summer, somewhere between afternoon archery and dinner all together. And when we do meet, know that it will be as automatic family.
Selam! Tena Yistilin!